Feeding Your Workout
In a previous blog, I discussed in general terms the importance of nutrition as a component of wellness and fitness training. Let’s put some meat on those bones. There are many opinions as to what you should eat before, during and after your workouts. There are no hard-and-fast rules, but there are some general guidelines.
To prepare for a workout you want to put some gas in your tank. If you fuel properly before your workout, you’ll have more energy to maximize your effort and increase your caloric burn. About one to two hours before you work out drink a glass of water (you’ll hear this repeated, as multiple glasses of water throughout the day will help you stay properly hydrated). Carbohydrates are the most efficient source of energy for athletes. They break down into smaller sugars, like glycogens, that get absorbed and used as energy. So, eat some healthy carbohydrates such as whole grain cereals with milk, whole-wheat toast low-fat or fat-free yogurt, whole-grain pasta, brown rice, fruits and vegetables. If you’re rushed, just have a piece of fresh fruit.
Drink water throughout your workout, to remain hydrated. When you’re done, drink more water (duh!). After your workout, your body tries to rebuild its glycogen stores and repair and regrow muscle proteins.
Taking in the right nutrients as soon as possible after you exercise can help your body get this done faster. So, it’s important to eat carbs and protein after your workout. That will decrease muscle protein breakdown, increase muscle protein synthesis to grow muscles and enhance recovery. Go for (for example) protein powder, chicken. eggs, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, tuna, salmon or a protein bar. As I said., all of this is just a guideline, but remember that what nutrients you put into your body and the timing are as important as your exercise program.